Driver who caused 15 wrecks indicted on 29 charges

Michael Snider

Michael Snider

LAWRENCEVILLE -- On January 23, police believe 70-year-old Michael Owen Snider had too much to drink, got in his pickup and turned U.S. Highway 78 into his own deadly version of bumper cars, causing at least 15 accidents and killing one fellow driver.

On Wednesday, a Gwinnett County grand jury threw the book at him, indicting him on 29 separate charges. The charges returned against Snider include two counts of homicide by vehicle and another of felony murder -- the latter implying the intent authorities believe was inherent in his actions that day.

According to authorities, Snider had been drinking at a DeKalb County bar that evening before he got in his 2006 Ford Super Duty pickup and began his hellish drive down U.S. Highway 78. He reportedly caused five accidents in DeKalb and 10 more in Gwinnett before the final crash, near Walton Court in Snellville, claimed the life of one woman and seriously injured another.

This week's indictments charge him with a total of 11 counts of first-degree criminal damage to property, 10 counts of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, two counts of driving under the influence and one count of reckless driving. Two counts of homicide by vehicle and one of felony murder stem from the death of 69-year-old Mintiwab Woldeyhannes.

Another driver hit during the final pileup suffered significant injuries: a rib fracture, fractured shoulder blade, "intracranial hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage and closed head injury," according to this week's indictments.

Snider, a Stone Mountain resident, has remained in the Gwinnett County jail since his original arrest.